1. Voss, Robin S.

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As I start to write this, my sixth President's message, it is unbelievable that my year as President of NAON could possibly be coming to an end so quickly. It seems that we have only started working on many new and exciting endeavors and that many more people are ready to step up to serve this association. Now, as I think about that last statement, I believe that my year has been fairly successful. My goal, as stated in my acceptance speech, was to serve the membership and to look after the association's business so that you, the membership, could advance the art and science of orthopaedics through research, education, and nursing practice.


Let me take this opportunity to sum up some of the Association's new endeavors and changes that have occurred this past year. We have expressed our passion for NAON and the work that we are doing. This became a reality as I worked with Barbara Shoemaker, the Chair of the Pediatric SIG, and with Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA) on issues of safe transportation of children with orthopaedic conditions. We have aggressively pursued getting a special needs Childs Passenger Seat back on the market. Also, Director Linda Altizer started working on a campaign with the All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) coalition to ensure our children will not be involved in deadly or life-altering accidents with the vehicles.


We have had the desire and courage to try new things. The House of Delegates voted online for the first time, as we, the membership, held our first electronic election. We have been asked to come to the table more often with vendors and other associations to lend credibility to their work. We were asked to make an appointment to the FDA Orthopaedic Device Panel and were fortunate to get Connie Whittington to accept that appointment. We were asked by the ANA to participate in an Advanced Practice Stakeholders meeting to help define the APN Categories of Practice.


We have surrounded ourselves with good people who will help us to continue this forward momentum. I believe that each President wonders for what he or she will be remembered. As I look back at our Past Presidents, I see each one as a unique and different leader, every one of them accomplishing something special. I had said that our future was about change and improvement. Your Board has worked hard to make sure that Dr. Jack Yensen, as Director of Education; Dr. Mary Nelson, as Director of Research, and Kay Englebrecht, as Executive Director for NAON, are the right people for the job and for NAON. We believe that each of these professionals working with you, the membership, will help bring about many positive changes for the future and that our possibilities are endless. You only have to talk to them for a short time to hear the enthusiasm and passion for their roles and their beliefs in what NAON can accomplish. Change can be exciting if you believe it is moving you forward. If I am known as the President that only hired people the year that she was in office, as long as each of these individuals brings about the exciting changes for NAON that he or she discussed during their interviews, then I will be happy for that to be my legacy.


You, the membership, have stepped up to the task of serving on committees and task forces. We are bringing about new leaders, people who are willing to accept constructive criticism, so that one day they can serve this association in a more formal capacity. We have people who are willing to dream, to create a clear vision for our future, and to expand NAON into many new and different venues. These people will continue to work toward NAON's endless possibilities.


I have been blessed to be supported not only by many of the membership during this year but also by my local NAON chapter and my family. My husband bought me Lincoln on Leadership by Donald T. Phillips this year because he understood my passion to lead and serve this association. As I read this book I could not help but think of the many leadership characteristics that President Lincoln exhibited that I truly believe in. "Get out of the Ivory Tower and get to know your people. It's the only way you can know what is really happening" (p. xiii). I also told you in my opening speech that we must get to know you, for you to call us, write to us, or send us an e-mail. We needed you to let us know what was affecting your orthopaedic practice, and you did that. You must continue to keep our next President, Cynthia Gonzalez, informed. "Lincoln was the risk taker, assuming a bold stand and not wavering in the process" (p.65). "He was a leader who would not and did not limit himself" (p. 78). As leaders we must create an environment where it is safe and encourage people to be risk takers. Without this type of culture, we will remain stagnant and never grow. It is all about change and being ready to change.


"All human beings have their weaknesses, but not all of us realize them, come to grips with them, or offset their negative impact" (p. 80). I have always believed that self-evaluation is an act of strategic humility. You cannot help others grow if you don't know where you need improvement. This is true for NAON also; we must be in a constant state of evaluation. We need to know our strengths and weaknesses so that we can offset the negative impact of our weaknesses with new and different ideas. "Lincoln developed the enviable ability to persevere and learn from his own failures. Later in life he turned defeat into eventual victory" (p. 109). I have always believed that mistakes are just learning opportunities, and if we learn not only from our mistakes but also from the mistakes of others, then we may never have to make the mistakes that others did. This type of attitude within a culture continues to foster the environment of risk taking, because your members or staff will believe that if they fail, it too will be viewed as a learning opportunity.


"All leaders should realize that they can't do everything on their own. They simply must have people below them who will do what is necessary to insure success. Those subordinates who will take risks, act without waiting for direction, and ask for responsibility rather than reject it, should be treated as your most prized possessions" (p. 135). It is true that no one can run this association alone or make the necessary changes to keep NAON in the mainstream of nursing organizations. It will take each and every one of us stepping out taking risks and responsibilities for this association. You, our membership, are our most prized possession because you love and believe in NAON and orthopaedic nursing.


As I get ready to meet you in Phoenix for our 25th National Congress, our silver anniversary, I am excited about the possibilities of this association and of our future. It has been hard to tell if we were working or playing this year; we have appeared to be doing both. Thank you for allowing me to serve you. It has been an honor and a pleasure.